Is Hollywood Ready for Kenya? Senior Officials Say Yes

International filmmakers might begin to zoom in on Kenya after a group of senior government officials traveled to Los Angeles last week to promote filming in our home country.

While we have landed a sizable share of movie credits in the past (most famously, Sydney Pollack’s 1985 “Out of Africa,” with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford), this initiative is slated to win more of Hollywood’s business.

The Kenyan senior officials spoke at a luncheon at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills in front of executives from CBS, Disney and Lionsgate, among others. Spurred by South Africa’s developing film industry, a key point in their speech was Kenya’s advantage in comparison to other African countries.

“We’re bigger, better and with more incentives – we’re ready for business in the film sector,” said Cabinet secretary for sports, culture and the arts Hassan Wario, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We say, ‘Forget South Africa and welcome to Kenya.’”

The incentives that Wario was referring to would provide up to a 32 percent rebate in film expenses for international filmmakers. The equivalent reduction in South Africa lies at 25 percent. Kenya Film Commission Chairman Chris Foot reported that President Kenyatta has declared his full support for the proposed incentives, which will be formally introduced in a finance bill in June.

“We’re very fortunate that we’ve got everything from waterfalls to beaches,” Foot added. “We have snow, we’ve got deserts, tropical rain forests…We’re the only country in Africa which represents every single African culture.”

Originally from Sweden, Chris is a journalist with an extensive interest for African culture and the arts.